I never told anyone, but last month on the way to Lollapalooza I got a speeding ticket – in Illinois, right over the border about 2 1/2 hours from Memphis. I was going 64 mph in a construction zone, but I thought I was out of the construction zone because there were no signs or orange cones or people working. Luckily I was going under the regular speed limit. But the fine was $375. That’s way too much money, so I thought I would try to get it reduced by going to court.
I left my house at 7:30am this morning and drove 2 1/2 hours up route 55 to Cairo, Illinois. Cairo is a really small town. Think Mayberry. So I was a little worried thinking that this town makes its money on speeding tickets. I got to the courthouse about 45 minutes before my trial was to begin, so I watched everyone else’s.
The judge brought a group of about 5 people up at once because they had all gotten speeding tickets in a construction zone. But my name wasn’t called. I asked why and was told it was because I requested a trial. These people had a choice of probation for a year with a fine of over $600., but nothing would be on their record. Or they could plead guilty and pay the $375. now and it would be on their record.
The judge then took a recess for a few minutes and told us (3 of us waiting for our trials) to decide what we wanted to do. We could choose one of the options he had given the others or stick with our trial. He said to talk with whom I assume was some sort of D.A. and see if we could work out something. So I did. That’s when I was told it was my lucky day and to sit tight because my case would probably get thrown out because the cop wasn’t there. Sure enough when the judge returned, he dismissed my case – as well as the other two. But those poor people who already went who hadn’t chosen to have a trial had to pay all that money.
I asked the judge if I could have something in writing for my records to prove that the case was dismissed. He looked at me as if I was crazy. But I wanted to have proof that it was dismissed and I didn’t owe anything and that I had showed up for court because I don’t want to be arrested when I go to Chicago next year. He couldn’t give me anything, but he showed me that he indicated my case was dismissed.
So I left Illinois an hour and a half later with my $400. in tact. Whew! What a load off my mind! I drove straight back home – another 170 miles and 2 1/2 hours using almost an entire tank of gas for the entire trip. But that $30. worth of gas is a lot less than $400.!